PHOENIX — More than a dozen volunteers are checking tire pressures, rim alignments and bike seats this morning. Making final preps as students at St. Matthews Catholic school in Phoenix are soon to get quite the surprise.
“Every single one of you will receive a brand-new bike,” said Principal Christine Tax to the applause of children today inside the school chapel.
On Wednesday, the team at Bob’s Free Bikes delivered 135 of them. Big and small. Red, pink and blue. All to a community of kids who otherwise may never get a bike at all.
“St. Matthews is a very special place, we serve families that are extremely poor, and for businesses to help us in this way is something I can’t even describe,” said Tax.
On this day, she doesn’t have to. The excitement when each child saw their names on the seat said it all.
“I love it,” shouted one little girl jumping up and down.
“They will not be able to sleep tonight, they are so happy and excited,” said Father Nelson Libera with St. Matthews.
After getting their new ride, a new helmet from Phoenix Children’s hospital and a quick blessing from the priest, the kiddos made their way out to the test track.
“This track is kind of teach them little bike safety skills, dodging obstacles, you’ve got a yield sign, you’ve got a stop sign, teaching them to stay on the right side of the road,” said John Boyd with Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
As they whizzed around the course, volunteers from Bob’s Free Bikes, an organization that receives donated bikes, fixes them up and gives them away across the Valley, saw their heartfelt gift in action.
A gift that wouldn’t be possible without donations from the community and from our viewers during the ABC15 “Second Chance Bike Drive” campaign.
“It’s not a bicycle, it’s a ticket to freedom and a ticket to excitement, and a ticket to discovery,” said Bob Mandel, owner Bob’s Free Bikes.
“I just think back to when I was a kid and how important my bike was to me, so I think every kid should have one, if they don’t let's get them one,” said Jay Tuberville, a volunteer with Bob’s Free Bikes.
Old bikes have found new life in the hands of children in need, to take them on adventures they'll never forget.